Friday, October 9, 2009

Seed Collecting

It's seed collecting time! There is little more an optimistic and thrifty gardener can do to ensure the continuation of their garden at a low cost than to collect seeds from their own garden or gardens of another at the end of the year. It is one of my favorite things to do because I always feel like I am getting plants for free-which of course I am.
Some plants will set their seeds in the ground and come next spring you need do nothing to have these plants come back for you. These plants include cosmos, cleomes, nicotiana, dill, saliva, johnny jump ups, and many more. I've only included the ones I have in my garden that self seed so if you know of more do let us know. Of course it does not hurt to collect seeds as well so that you can plant these wonderful annuals in the spots you wish for them to grow. Some perennials like Verbena bonarinsis and coneflowers are also good self seeders and it is easy to collect seeds from perennials as well.

Once collected I sort my seeds and place them in small envelopes purchased from Office Depot for just this purpose. I label the seeds with the type, light needs and year of collection. I am also sure to add warnings such as self seeds or needs full sun to the packet as well. I then relax until a friend comes over and happens to love a certain plant, or a seed swap or plant swap opportunity comes up. Out come the seeds and a bit of my garden finds its way into another's garden.

Speaking of seed swaps, Monica at Garden Faerie's Musings hosted a seed swap amongst bloggers (and anyone else wishing to participate) last year. It was very fun and there was a great variety of seeds sent around to various folks. I'll be ready this year and am looking forward to it and also to swapping seeds individually if the opportunity arises....

in the garden....

I want to thank a few folks for taking the time to collect and send me some seeds or plants or a smile in some form or another in the mail. I usually don't post on the specific item but wanted to thank all in this forum because sometimes I am just amazed at all the generosity in this world amongst folks who have common interests. I hope I don't forget anyone but here is a try at naming all and if I have inadvertently left you off email me right away!: Frances, Tatyana, Linda, Rosey, Texas Daisey, Lola, Skeeter, Karrita, Lzyjo, Catherine, and Linda. Thanks so much!


  1. Tina,

    Great way to save seeds!

    I have really "gotten into" seeds in the last year. I have only saved the milkweed seeds, which I will plant on the first rainy day after the first frost (my theory, not proven). I let all the other seeds self-sow, but I wanted to plant the milkweed together for the Monarchs.

    BTW, there are so many Monarchs here right now. All of my cats became butterflies and there are even more. I have so many zinnias and marigolds in bloom and those are favorite nectar plants.


  2. I love to collect seeds too!! I have a lot of reseeders in my gardens, marigolds, zinnias, black-eyed susan vine, morning glory, sweet pea (comes back), cleome, torenia.........I was in a seed swap last year too, and would love to do it again!!

  3. I'll probably be out collecting seeds starting next week and continue over the next several weeks. I think the heucheras are ready to collect right now, and maybe the hostas!

  4. Thanks you for the shout-out! I love seed security! Never having to worry about running out!! Just have to remember to make cutting of the ones that don't come true to seed.

  5. It's been so wet here I keep putting it off. Guess I should collect some anyway and dry it inside.

  6. Your seed from last year gave me an extra bit of sunshine in my garden this year, Tina. Those Cosmos are amazing! I'll be sure to collect some of the seed for next year.

  7. If I had more annuals I'd be out there collecting, I love a self seeder.

  8. What a wonderful thing to do! I love thrifty and like to share also. I need to spend some time doing just this thing today.... thanks for the reminder!

  9. Tina.
    Hey, I looked at office max for enveloped and even asked the bubble heads that worked here and couldn't locate those cute envelopes. That is why the envelopes I sent you were funky. I will check around better.
    Thank YOU, for sending seeds to me. I always feel more connected to people when I grow things in my garden that came from flowers or plants that once grew in their garden.
    Good post!

  10. This is a reminder, I've been thinking it's time for me to learn how to do this. I guess it's time to go see what's happening out there. I love the idea of a seed swap.

  11. Morning Tina and all... Humidity is back and that means rain is on the way. Not wanting that as I have some family members on the way as well. We’ll have fun rain or shine though...

    Tina, Do you have any Butterfly Weed in your garden? I do not recall if you do or not. I have13 pods on mine this year and am starting to collect the seeds as the pods open. I will pass some along if you like....???....

    A day full of yard work and house cleaning. What a beginning to the Saints 4-day weekend…

  12. Rosey, We had a difficult time finding those small envelopes at Office Max as well. We finally found them by the coin wrappers. So give that area a look...

  13. Hi Tina, Thank you for the seeds. I know I will enjoy them next yr. I now have some zinnia, Cleome,& Torenia to come back next yr.
    The oddest thing happened---I had Cleome & Torenia several yrs ago. I didn't collect the seeds so lost plants after a fashion. This yr. they came back & bloomed. I was amazed. Goes to show some seeds can last for yrs even in the ground.
    I hope all have a very lovely day.

  14. Great post Tina. Guess I should be out trying to find seeds. I mean TRYING to find seeds! LOL I've already collected the ones I know are. Have a kazillion of the almost 4 foot purple Columbines if anyone is interested.
    Thanks again for the seeds you sent me - can't wait to see them in action!

  15. I collect seeds every year as well and end up looking for them when it's time to put them out. Every year, same story. :-)Heucheras have been self-seeding and I absolutely love them. Been potting them as give aways for garden friends.
    Here is a great link for seed envelopes

    Greetings from Germany, Andrea

  16. I so need to do this so maybe next week I can get the promised Lupine seeds in the mail!!

  17. I am hoping to collect a few seeds this year! It's a good and thrifty idea. gail

  18. Hello tina.

    Thank you so much for this post!
    It is really informative! I haven't been good at collecting seeds but I should be out trying to find them. Firstly, morning glories....I've learned much from you, for example, small envelopes, labels, and more!!

  19. This year I'm doing much more seed saving, especially from some of my favorites. It is fun knowing that part of your garden finds it's way into another garden.
    I've just found those little envelopes that you use, they are the perfect size.

  20. Hi Tina, this is such a useful post, thanks for telling where to get those little envelopes too. And thanks not only for the link love but the seeds from you as well, the Nicotiana sylvestris was a success and I hope to have babies of it next year too. One plant that produces a lot of seeds here, too many, is the Belamcanda, although I think that name has been changed to something else already, hard to keep up anymore!

  21. Hi all! Just came back from some really good garden lectures. One by a person who's garden will be in Fine Gardening in January-so exciting! Not much to say except yes you all collect your seeds and share them later in seed swaps or for your garden. A nice thing.

    I spent a LOT of time looking for those seed packets and really like them. I just don't have enough time to make the home made packets so resorted to these. They are most functional and do look around the office supply stores as they do have them. I think they may have been in the coin section.

    Andrea, Welcome back and thanks for the very good link to seed packets! P.S. I sure wish the heucheras would self seed for me.

    Skeeter, I have quite a few butterfly weed and it's been spreading its seed around a lot for a few years but despite this I've not noticed and volunteers:( But do save the seeds for some seed swaps.

    Talk to you all later!

  22. Hey Tina, usually by the time I get to thinking of collecting seeds, they've already fallen and will scatter about on their own, or have else shriveled up and no longer good:(

    Chalk it up with being lazy, I year I would like to participate in this seed swapping ;)

  23. Tina, I am so looking forward to te seed swap again this year. When they came last year, Rose and I had a delightful time looking and selecting from them. And then of course we added our gathered seed and sent the package on to the next person. Monica did a fabulaous job of organizing it didn't she?

  24. One of my refridgerator crisper drawers is always crammed full of seeds.

  25. I love collecting seeds too... I realise that seeds are best within the first month and they produce healthy and strong plants..... ~bangchik

  26. Glad I found your blog... is very instructive... I will shurely come back....


  27. I was planning on collecting some seeds, but haven't gotten to it. It is supposed to get down to 31 tonight, and in the 20s the next several nights. Is it OK to collect them after it has gotten that cold? We also have a chance of snow.

    I have done some deadheading and let the seed heads fall to the ground so they can come up in the spring.

    Larry helped me dig potatoes after work today. He has a different method, and stuck several through with the garden fork. I can't complain, though, as I needed his help.